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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet in

Aggressor Fleet: "Outstanding diving in Palau", May, 2016,

by Tim Barden, MA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 9105.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I picked the May timeframe after considerable deliberation and discussions with my travel agent, John at US Dive Travel. In the end, I went for a week on the Palau Aggressor followed by a week in Yap at the Manta Ray Bay Resort. More about Yap in a separate report. The timing worked out well, weather-wise. Not too hot, light breezes, brief showers when it rained at all and moderate currents.
First, arrival in Palau. If boarding the Aggressor, come in the day before or at 1:00 AM the day of. Either way, you need a room for a few hours because boarding isn't until 4:00 PM Sun. The airport closes just after the last flight arrives at 1:00 AM and all the taxis have left. The executive lounge closes for a few hours too. There are plenty of hotel options from cheap to expensive, but you need to be proactive. Aggressor central doesn't deal with it and the local crew didn't give me any suggestions.
The mother boat with tender is a perfect setup for Palau. Dive sites were never more than a few minutes away with the tender. It's roomy and sits in a cradle at the back that is lifted out of the water with a hydraulic system for travel and storage. A couple of fixed steps with railing from the dive deck gets you into the tender. Back roll entry and standard ladder exit. The Palau Aggressor is a large catamaran well designed for comfort and diving. Plenty of food - not 5-star but good variety and tasty.
Very friendly and attentive staff. Always at least 3 in the water and their distinctive bright yellow tanks made them easy to spot. Why don't more dive operations do that (Hint, hint!)? About half of the dives used a 'reef hook'. The currents during the week were perfect-strong enough to need a hook but not so strong that you couldn't maneuver. We still got spread out during dives. Safety sausages ruled! The tender skipper was terrific at spotting people so that recovery never took long.
Diving: Spectacular! Very healthy reefs. Minimal sign of coral bleaching. The combination of reef hook diving (~50%) and drift diving was a lot of fun. Soooo many sharks during the reef hook dives just surfing the current but lots of other fish too!! We saw schools of fish cruising the reef that I didn't even know schooled. An octopus that came out right below my hook and crawled around for 20 minutes was the only thing that could take my eyes off the sharks and other fish in the current (barely). The humphead parrotfish spawning event was a special treat. Turtles on every dive and even a manta ray at a cleaning station. Good quality video available for purchase at end of the trip. Chip, one of the crew, went down with a good camera on most dives. He did a slide presentation at the end of the trip and gave us all a copy of it. Nice touch! Would go back in a heartbeat! Well worth the long flights to get there.
Websites Aggressor Fleet   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving All over the Carobbeam. Truk
Closest Airport Koror, Palau Getting There Delta through Tokyo, UAL (ANA) back

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 78-80°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60-100 Ft/ 18-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Max depth and time for all dives noted and logged by crew. Crew counted and double counted to make sure we didn't leave anyone behind.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Good camera table and facilities for cameras. Plenty of outlets for anything rechargable.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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